Fellow:Acumen Fund

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Acumen is a non-profit venture capital organization that raises funds from charitable organizations and invests in poverty-eradication entrepreneurial ventures across the globe.  Unlike any venture capital, Acumen capital invests in long-term debt and equity investments in early-stage companies providing reliable and affordable access to agricultural inputs, quality education, clean energy, healthcare services, formal housing, and safe drinking water to low-income customers. As stated by their website here, "Latin America has made incredible progress in reducing extreme poverty, but more than 80 million people still live on $4 a day and another 200 million face the risk of being pulled back into poverty". Many other countries have large gaps within their economic status which Acumen aims to address and mitigate. This organization aims to assist and equip these regions with the tools to escape and assist others in escaping extreme poverty.


Acumen was founded on April 1, 2001 with capital from the Rockefeller Foundation, Cisco Systems Foundation and three other individual philanthropists. The foundation envisions an organization that seeks to promote and venture entrepreneial ideas with substantial social impact on poverty reduction.  Acumen currently operates in five regions around the world namely USA, India, Pakistan, East Africa and West Africa.

Distinct Differences From Other Offerings

By sourcing donations from charitable organizations and trustees, Acumen invests in ideas. These ideas provide not only a return, but also a tactical way to tackle poverty through education rather than giving.

Unlike other venture capital firms, Accumen only invests in companies with ideas that have a social impact, especially in the areas of agriculture, health, water, housing and energy.

Supported by organizations such as Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, and the Skoll Foundation, Acumen’s investments create long lasting social impacts and help to eradicate poverty through empowerment rather than charity.

Fellowship Program


Acumen currently has three leadership programs: Global Fellows, Regional Fellows and +acumen. Participants in all three programs demonstrate a combination of financial expertise, operational expertise and moral imagination for success.


The Acumen Global Fellow program is a full-time one-year fellowship for 10-12 individuals from all over the world who spend two months in New York and undergo intensive leadership training, followed by nine months of working with one of Acumen’s portfolio companies. Since its foundation, the global fellowship program has trained over 100 fellows, placing them in numerous social impact ventures.  Fellows take leadership positions in divisions such as Marketing and Operations. To learn more about individual fellows, check here.

The training portion of the fellow starts in September and continues until the middle of November.  Field placement lasts from November to August.

To be qualify for Accumen fellowship, a candidate must demonstrate the following:

1.       Strong business experience: finance, operations, sales, marketing, and/or consulting

2.       Passion and commitment to creating positive social change

3.       Proven track record of leadership and management responsibilities

4.       Experience living and working in emerging markets

5.       Grit, courage, and perseverance

6.       A minimum of 3 years of work experience

Regional Fellowship:

The regional fellowship is a year-round program that brings entrepreneurs and leaders within organizations to work on social change projects that have been operating for the last 2-3 years. Fellows learn about the Accumen business model, meet every 6-8 weeks throughout the year for 4 seminars and 2 collaborative projects.  Learn more about current fellows here.

Fellows have the opportunity to learn about financial tools for social impact projects, leadership, networking and emerging markets.:

Though the application process is noted here, the application process is traditionally as follows:

Applications open: July-September.

Telephone Interviews: September/October 

In-Person Selection Conference: November

Final Selection: December


+Acumen is the online leadership course created by Acumen that is organized into chapters and volunteer-run groups that actively support Acumen’s mission to change the way the world perceives and tackles poverty. +Acumen chapters and volunteer groups work together to raise money to engage in meaningful projects within their communities. Currently, there exist more than 300,000 students in 190 countries worldwide. Read more about +Acumen here.

Steps Required To Bring Resource to Campus

Universities and Colleges can take the opportunity provided by Acumen and apply directly to investment funding. Projects that are eligible for investments must be in mid-startup stage with a focus on poverty eradication.  Acumen provides brochures, online courses and materials that train individuals to use financial tools to create social impact projects.

Contact Information (Updated 1/10/2018)



40 Worth Street, Suite 303
New York, NY 10013, USA

T: +1 (212) 566-8821
F: +1 (212) 566-8817


203 Dheeraj Plaza 
Hill Road, Bandra West 
Mumbai, 400050, India

T: +91 (22) 6740-1500
F: +91 (22) 6740-1550


1st Floor, Cape Office Park
Opposite Yaya Centre
Ring Road, Kilimani
P.O. Box 101883-00101 Jamia
Nairobi, Kenya

Airtel: +254 736 073036
Safaricom: +254 716 252802


Carerra 12 No 
Oficina 702
Bogota, Colombia

T +57-1-7552543
T +57-1-7552544


1st Commercial Lane 
Shahbaz Commercial Area 
Phase VI, DHA Karachi , Pakistan

T: +92 (21) 3584 6430-2
F: +92 (21) 3584 6490


A&C Square
No. 14 Jungle Road, East-Legon 
P.O. Box CT8740
Accra, Ghana

T +233 030 298 4098

Last Update: 1/10/2018 by Cameron Robinson